Growing older is a process with numerous gradual or sudden changes over time. For staff supporting people with intellectual disabilities, it may be difficult to recognise these changes or know how best to meet their changing needs. People with intellectual disabilities often age biologically at a younger chronological age than the general population, and many will have very different life experiences of getting older, for example having missed out on work, having a family and developing long-term relationships. These factors can adversely affect self-esteem as well as sources of financial and social support to fall back on as they grow older.
These new resources address a significant gap in the knowledge and practice of supporting people with learning disabilities as they grow older. Both aim to help staff and others to improve their understanding of how growing older may affect individuals, and ways of providing good support to people with learning disabilities so that they can:
- age well through staying healthy, keeping friendships and connections and adapting their lifestyle as necessary;
- cope with challenges and difficulties they may face, particularly as they become frailer and lose some independence.
Through knowledge content, exercises, key learning points and video clips of older people with learning disabilities talking about their experiences of growing older, the materials will help support staff to explore how planning for and providing good support can make a positive difference to individuals’ lives in the key areas of:
- Emotional well-being
- Being active and involved
- Home life
- Dying well
Throughout the learning process, the themes of person-centred planning, good communication, and building confidence and encouraging independence are central to the development of good support.
The training pack provides the resources needed to deliver training on growing older and comes with guidance on running each session, together with online exercise sheets and handouts, presentation slides, video clips and other resources. The self-study guide (also included in the training pack) can be purchased separately and contains a self-study route with access to the video clips online.